I loved Murder Simply Brewed. The tension of the story isn't found in whether or not someone is going to stay Amish or leave the faith, but in solving a series of crimes that may include murder, though the police don't believe it. The book is set in a tourist location in Indiana, The Amish Village, where visitors can stay in an inn, eat at a restaurant, and shop for Amish goods. Though the Village is run by an English woman, it employs many Amish people and sells Amish goods, helping bring income to the Amish community, as well.
The heroines of the story are Amber Wright, the Amish Village manager, and Hannah Troyer, the sweet young Amish girl who finds Ethan Gray dead from an apparent heart attack. Amber initially asks Hannah to step in and run the coffee shop that Ethan had been running, since she had occasionally filled in for him. Unfortunately, Ethan's death is quickly followed up with several vandalism events, with Biblical warnings and threats being left at each location. Together Amber and Hannah try to piece together the mystery and see if they can prove Ethan was murdered. A friendship soon grows between them, despite a nearly 20 year age difference and their cultural differences. Of course, they aren't working entirely alone. Each woman finds themselves discovering new love as Amber's neighbor (Tate) and Hannah's childhood friend (Jesse) lend listening ears and help with the investigation.
Murder Simply Brewed brings a new twist to Amish fiction. It takes my favorite genre of cozy mystery and adds a bit of an Amish element. As with most cozy mysteries, a little love interest adds to the story without taking over. I like that Vannetta Chapman shows more of the working relationship and intermingling of the Amish community with their English neighbors, since many authors prefer to focus on their separation instead.
I have to admit that I stayed up 3 hours after my husband went to bed finishing the book. I even outlasted my 17 year old daughter by an hour. I kept telling myself I should go to bed, but I couldn't put the book down. I loved the characters, and the mystery was very well-written, keeping me guessing most of the way through the book. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the Amish Village Mysteries as they are written! In the meantime, I'm going to read Vannetta Chapman's other series, The Shipshewana Amish Mysteries.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."